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Operation Close Pass aims to improve the safety of cyclists on the road by educating drivers on how to overtake them safely.

South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Safety Camera Partnership Go Safe have launched Operation Close Pass at the 2018 Velothon Wales event.

LAST UPDATED:
2018-07-08

The initiative will help increase awareness amongst road users in South Wales on driving etiquette and how to drive courteously, with respect for others on the roads.

The Highway Code recommends that road users should give vulnerable road users, such as motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders , the same amount of room as they would when overtaking a car – this is typically approximately 1.5m.

Assistant Chief Constable Jennifer Gilmer said:

“Protecting vulnerable road users is a vitally important for police forces across the country. The roads in South Wales are considered some of the safest across Europe, and our policing operations and work with partners and the public have led to a reduction in road casualties and behaviour change within society.

“Operation Close Pass highlights the vulnerable position many cyclists are put in, it shows drivers what happens when they drive dangerously and don’t leave enough room when overtaking.”

Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said:

“I cannot praise this scheme highly enough. Contrary to common perception, the vast majority of pedal cyclist casualties occur not during complex manoeuvres, but when the cyclist is simply going along.

“We need to find a way of keeping safe those people who have made the decision to have healthier, more active and sustainable lives, and those who just enjoy riding their bikes.

“I support road safety interventions that make active travel a realistic and safe choice. All road users need to be aware of the things they can do to make everyone safe as part of their daily journeys.

“This is the first time Operation Close Pass will run in Wales. It has been successful in other parts of the UK and I am confident it will have just as positive an effect on our roads.

“In 2016, there were 115 pedal cyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads. This must be reduced, and I hope Operation Close Pass will be a positive step in that direction.”

Operation Close Pass deploys police officers on bicycles fitted with cameras which record the behaviour of drivers who overtake them. If an offence is detected, the officer radios colleagues further down the road to direct the vehicle into a checkpoint where the driver will be offered roadside education from fire service colleagues using a specially designed equipment which illustrates the safe passing distance.

Huw Jakeway, Chief Fire Officer South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said:

“As a Fire and Rescue Service our vision is to make South Wales safer by reducing risk, so supporting our partners in delivering intervention activities is key to reducing casualties on our roads. As part of our involvement, we will be delivering education to road users found to be dangerously overtaking vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and horse riders. Our education package will explain the impact and potential consequences of overtaking dangerously, we hope to change behaviours and attitudes within our driving communities allowing all road users to use our roads safely together”. Teresa Ciano, Partnership Manager Go Safe said:

“Multi agency partnership working is key to delivering safer roads and behaviour change from drivers. Police forces across Wales are committed to keeping road users safe and reducing the number of casualties seriously injured or killed.

“Operation Close Pass is just one of a number of operations being developed and delivered by the four police forces in Wales. Last year, South Wales Police developed and led the launch of Operation Snap which was also supported by Gwent Police, Dyfed Powys Police and North Wales Police.

“Operation Snap enables digital evidence of dangerous driving to be submitted to police forces and action to be taken against those found to be driving dangerously. Operation Snap has detected in the region of 180 offences per month, and for which we’ve issued 42 warnings for overtaking cyclists in a dangerous manner, and dealt with 39 cases of driving without due care and attention..”

If you have footage of dangerous driving, you can report online at https://gosafesnap.wales/.

Operation Close Pass will commence throughout South Wales during July and will run until early August.

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